Welcome back to my blog 🙂 I hope you’ve been enjoying the YouTube videos I’ve put out but I’m back with a written blog today!
First things first, I want to introduce this new series on my blog called “That Time When”. I’m always up to no good and I have sooo many random stories that I think would be fun to tell. From puking while giving head, to partying with friends of Kim and Kanye in NYC, to running out of my university in the middle of a lockdown (due to a terrorist threat omg), I’ve done it all.
With that being said, quarantine for me has actually been quite productive and fun. I’ve done a lot of things to keep productive and better my lifestyle, as well as I’ve been trying new things. I think the craziest thing I’ve done so far is make a new friend; one who just so happens to be incarcerated in a California state prison.
This is That Time When I sent a letter to a prisoner and he replied.
One random day, a friend of mine sent me a Snap of her writing to a prisoner so I asked her about it. I asked her how she found him, how long it takes to get a response, what it’s like, etc. She gave me the 411 and it didn’t take long for me to start browsing the website (WriteAPrisoner) to find a pen pal of my own. I’ve always loved the idea of pen pals and receiving handwritten letters in the mail. This was also around the same time that quarantine happened and I was starting to get really bored. Moreover, I didn’t want to find a prison bae or anything like that, obviously, but the thought of prisoners being miserable and lonely really made me want to make someone’s day with a nice letter.
One evening, while I was on FaceTime with my bestie, I told him we should both send letters and he agreed (although he never sent his, SMH). So I filtered my search to Hispanic prisoners in California and I chose my top 3 potential pen pals. I didn’t really have any criteria to meet asides from 1) wanting to find someone who I thought I could get along with and 2) not wanting to deal with like murderers, rapists, or anything too, too extreme – I am giving them my address after all lol.
In my initial letters, I just told them a little bit about myself, explained why I was writing, and that was kind of it. In theory, I think I should’ve asked some questions about them but I didn’t want to seem too forward or imposing. Anyway, the next day, I excitedly sent out my 3 letters and everyday going forward, I would check my mailbox waiting for at least ONE of the three to respond. Let me tell you, the wait was miserable, I just wanted someone to interact with me lol! Anyway, 6 or 7 weeks had passed by and no one had responded so I began to lose hope. I was thinking of looking for a new penpal but I couldn’t be bothered to deal with writing the letters, buying a stamp, dropping the letter off, waiting 6-7 weeks, etc. etc.
However, one random day, I checked the mail and saw two cards. Now at first, I thought it was like TD or the CRA, that is until I saw “State Prison Generated Mail” on one of the letters and I freaked the FUCK out. I was soo excited to finally receive a response! Like I said earlier, the thrill of receiving a handwritten letter is just something else. Anyway, I didn’t open it at first because I was nervous; this had been the moment I’d been waiting 8 weeks for so I left the letter in my room and resumed doing what I was doing. After a few hours, I finally decided to open the letter.
My jail bae is honestly such a sweetheart and he honestly just seems like a young man that made a mistake at some point in his life. He has goals to completely 180 his life and find a career in something that’s super honourable and a service to society. His letter was actually quite lengthy and it came with a photo of himself lol. I had already seen a photo of him on the pen pal website but the one he sent me was updated. It did have the name “Emily” written on the back of it though, so I think prison bae might already be cheating on me, SMH, the audacity huh? Just kidding.
Anyway, he told me about himself, his goals, asked me some questions, and asked for a photo – it actually turns out we have a lot in common. When I responded, I sent a selfie (an innocent one, not my IG pics lol), answered his question, and made some convo. Actually, this time around, I sent him an email using an app called JPay. Some prisoners have access to tablets or desktops and using JPay is a cheaper and quicker alternative to sending snail mail letters. You pay about 10 cents per email and you can add attachments. The turnaround to receive a response is also waaaay faster, about 24-48 hours.
With that being said, I don’t want to divulge too much info on the contents of our letters because it just seems kind of personal but I definitely think you can find some gems on the WriteAPrisoner website. I’d recommend writing letters to prison pen pals to anyone who wants to brighten someone’s day and potentially make a friend out of it. It’s not hard to say you’re just looking for a friend and nothing romantic either lol, a lot of them just want someone fun to talk to while they serve their time.
In the meantime, I’ll be exchanging emails with my new friend lol! I’ll keep you guys posted on our friendship especially since he gets out this year. As I mentioned, I would recommend sending out some letters if you’re bored and wanting to learn about people with interesting pasts.
WriteAPrisoner was the easiest site to connect me with pen pals. They also have an option where you can type out one letter a month and they take care of printing and sending it.